The Age of Disbelief
Fr. Shay Cullen
July 22, 2016
It is truly an age of disbelief. Respect for the values of human life has plunged. People of Christian faith who declare belief in the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth that upholds the dignity and rights of the human person, stands with the poor and the excluded, shares with the refugees and the homeless, is at an all time low.
Faith in serving one’s suffering neighbor as a Good Samaritan, binding up the wounds of the stranger, reaching out to feed the hungry, working for peace and justice is lost in a world of materialism where the ideology is “greed is good.” Our prosperous world of money and power, wealth and possessions has created a generation of people that appears to be more interested in selfish satisfaction and glorification.
Much of the younger generation is absorbed with themselves, cut off in isolation by technology and gadgets and games from loving, serving human interaction. This is a lonely isolated generation. The selfie world is here with the Internet of things.
They seem to retreat into silence and inaction rather than take an open stand for the victims of human rights, child abuse and exploitation. Few march for peace and against racism and war. Where indeed are the cries of those who believe in the love of neighbor and the service to the oppressed and the exploited poor? They are drowned out by the noisy blare of mindless revelry and the drug- dependent pleasure seeking people.
There are brave and courageous Christians sacrificing themselves but they are mostly unsupported and are voices crying in the wilderness. Pope Francis strives to revive the faith of Jesus, which is lived out through commitment for the oppressed and a true option to live and work for social and gospel justice and truth. We are in challenging times for our beliefs and values and facing great evils.
In Syria, Assad continues drop horrendous barrel bombs from helicopters on civilians burning them to horrible painful death. An opposition rebel group supported by the coalition of western nations fighting Desh or Isis beheaded a 12-year old boy.
Europe has suicidal terrorists filled with extremist ideology, anger and hatred and feelings of exclusion drive tucks into crowds of people and attack civilians without mercy.
In the Philippines, the so-called war on illegal drugs is chalking up ten killings of drug dependents and suspected pushers a day for the past several weeks and there is no end in sight. They are mostly poor slum-dwellers.
From the carnage of the Middle East, the millions of homeless and hungry displaced people are shunned by most of Europe. They flee the insane ruthless ISIS who kidnap and murder. The helpless families have nowhere to hide but tell their children to run away in the hope of survival in a friendly country. But they are blocked by the barbed-wire fences or abducted by abusers and traffickers and turned into sex slaves as a recent report has documented and revealed.
The United Kingdom has voted itself out of the unity of Europe, a unity that brought peace and economic progress and development. The European Union is a system of limited democratic shared governance that seeks to share the wealth of the richer to the poorer nations of the union. A slim majority voted to leave but still want the benefits of the common market but not the obligations. They voted to close the doors against the refugees and those fleeing torture, hunger and violence.
And now comes the figures and facts recently revealed that shows an embarrassing truth. The wealthiest countries in the world such as the US, China, Japan, Germany, France and the UK, which together make up 56.6 percent of global GDP, between them host just 2.1 million refugees: 8.9 percent of the world’s total, according to the charity Oxfam as reported by The Guardian Newspaper.
The rich and super rich, the one percent of the population, control 60 percent of global wealth. They have only a miserable nine percent of the refugees in the world. The report says, “Of these 2.1 million people, roughly a third is hosted by Germany (736,740), while the remaining 1.4 million are split between the other five countries. The UK hosts 168,937 refugees, a figure Oxfam GB chief executive Mark Goldring has called shameful,” the Guardian reports. That is less than one percent of all the refugees in the world.
In contrast, more than half of the world’s refugees – almost 12 million people – live in Jordan, Turkey, Palestine, Pakistan, Lebanon and South Africa, despite the fact these places make up less than two percent of the world’s economy.
So, it is the poor, mostly Muslim countries who are helping the poor. If we think we are going to gain eternal life without passing the test that Jesus of Nazareth gives- to end hunger, release innocent prisoners, clothe the naked and feed the hungry (Matthew 25) and work for justice and love of neighbor- we are mistaken. What greater way is there to live than to live for others and not for self.